D'IBERVILLE, Miss. — Matt Haag and Scott Hughes will be well-rested when they lead four other teams into Sunday's finale of the 2008 Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup championship in Biloxi/D'Iberville.
The Florida anglers needed only 40 minutes to pick apart a prime school of 30-inch slot redfish on Day Two to catch 19.65 pounds and take the top spot in the tournament. All weights are zeroed for Sunday's final five.
Haag and Hughes' combined total of 37.74 pounds shattered the previous two-day Redfish Cup record, just one day after Mark Sepe and Andrew Bostick set the single-day record at 19.89 pounds.
"It was an absolute fish fest today," Haag said about his team's spot in the Biloxi marsh. "There wasn't a fish more than 15 pounds in it."
Defending Redfish Cup champions Sepe and Bostick slipped to second place with 36.87 pounds, again fishing within sight of their pre-fishing partners, the Broussards.
Paul Jueckstock and Manny Perez vaulted into third place on Day Two with a crucial 30-inch fish to cement a 33.30-pound total.
"We got lucky today," Perez said. "We got that one late, about 1 o'clock, with a two-hour run back."
Kevin and "Cajun" Phil Broussard slid into the fourth slot with 32.31 pounds after fishing a 100-acre swath of water with schools that would suddenly appear and disappear. Andy Mnichowski and Billy Nicholas stayed consistent, netting 29.85 pounds and edging out Jeff Pope and Brandon Buckner for fifth place by mere ounces.
On a day with fierce southeast winds forming whitecaps across the Gulf, the majority of Day One's leaders managed to hold their ground, but it took a full day of fishing to do so.
On the other hand, Haag and Hughes returned to the D'Iberville Piers around 11 a.m., and made light work in the Biloxi marsh using Cajun Thunder popping corks with Fishbites soft plastics.
"Our fish just got better today," said Hughes. "We've been waiting for a time when our stuff turns on and right now we feel this is it. We can win."
But Hughes knows to never count out any of the other teams.
"We're the youngest and the least experienced out of anyone here," he said. "And you've got the first through fourth place in Team of the Year points in this top five."
Haag and Hughes intend to make the same run Sunday in the quest for their first Redfish Cup championship title.
• Mark Sepe, Andy Mnichowski and Paul Jueckstock represent the only anglers competing on the final day of the 2008 Redfish Cup championship who also competed in the inaugural event held in Venice, La., in 2003.
• Andrew Bostick has now made the top five in five out of six Redfish Cup championship tournaments.
• This is the first year that four out of the top five teams who finished in the top five in Team of the Year points also made the Redfish Cup Championship's final day.
For complete results visit RedfishCup.com.